Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Coptic Orthodox Church in Alexandria

Everyone will be aware of the outrage that took place in Alexandria, Egypt, on New Year's Day, when a bomb blast outside St Mark's Coptic Orthodox Church killed 23 people and wounded dozens of others.

We have a group of Coptic Orthodox students who regularly meet at Newman House on a Thursday evening. We are pleased to be able to provide this facility to our brothers and sisters. Their pastor is Bishop Angaelos, who joins them from time to time.
On 9 January special memorial services were held for those killed in Alexandria, and these were joined in union of prayer by thousands of others, including here at Newman House. Fr Peter sent a message of condolence and communion to Bishop Angaelos and has received this gracious reply:

Your Eminences, Your Graces, Reverend Fathers, Your Excellencies, dear friends, sisters and brothers,

Grace and peace to you from our Lord Jesus Christ.

I take this opportunity to wish you the blessings of this New Year and peace, good health and success in all that you do.

I would like to offer my sincere apologies for the lateness of this reply to your appreciated sentiments and support over these last weeks and for my inability to respond individually to each and every message. As you can imagine, this painful attack on innocent church-goers in Alexandria on 1 January has drawn reactions from so many that we have been flooded with emails and messages of support, condolence, and above all, prayers, from hundreds of friends and partners. This show of support and solidarity has been an immense support to me personally, as well as to our Church and community here in the United Kingdom, in Egypt and throughout the world.

I am also very thankful to those who not only attended our Memorial Service with us on Sunday 9 January, but also those who, unable to attend due to their own services, pledged to pray with us at the same time, expressing the ultimate act of unity and solidarity. At that time we had all of our parishes across Europe accompanied in prayer by hundreds of the parishes and congregations of our ecumenical friends and partners across the United Kingdom.

Although I am sure that the Church will most certainly recover from this attack by God’s grace and the power and resilience that He provides for His children, we pray that matters in Egypt are dealt with with a wisdom and foresight that allows for a peaceful life for every person, and that Christians and Muslims alike can freely practice their faith without fear of personal or corporate attack.

Personally, and on behalf of His Holiness Pope Shenouda III and our Church and community here in the United Kingdom, I offer my sincere thanks to you and pray that God sends His peace into every heart,

I leave you in the love and care of our gracious Lord.

+Bishop Angaelos
General Bishop
Coptic Orthodox Church
United Kingdom

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